Installing and Experimenting with Non-Toxic Letterpress

Researchers:  Emma Warren and Julia Schirrmeister

Over the years, Zea Mays has acquired four different letterpresses: a small Kelsey, a large Kelsey, one LineOscribe and a Showcard. Letterpress printmaking has traditionally been a toxic process because of the ways people cleaned up the ink, rollers and type. Our goal was to set up and transform this medium into a non-toxic process, making our studio safer and more sustainable. We first familiarized ourselves with the steps involved in letterpress printing: press and chase preparation, pulling the print, and the clean up. Then we began to research safe and effective cleaning methods and inks. Finally, we created a letterpress workspace and storage system that maximizes productivity and accessibility.

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